Blog Archives

Having “Fun” Without Technology?

Image of a multiplication game praising child on job well done with animated creature

Multiplication app uses game elements of points, immediate feedback and badges/trophies to improve student performance

Today while getting my requisite coffee, there was a cluster of moms.  I know they were moms because they were discussing their young kids, as moms often do with one another.  One woman was struggling to encourage her kids to have fun without technology (no, we aren’t going to go into this topic- this is a tech blog after all).  Another woman said that her younger child wanted a phone like their older sibling (even though the younger kid didn’t understand that the older sibling’s phone didn’t have a phone plan).

Yet another mom said that her kid did better with his multiplication on the iPad (over writing them out)…. wait for it… because he earned points and could earn badges.  Bet she has no idea what Gamification is, but she sees that it works… she identified its benefit.  You can’t seek out a better testimonial than a parent seeing positive results when all they want is for their child to succeed.  Let’s make learning fun, let’s make work fun… because when designed well, there are positive benefits. Education.com has provided a good list of multiplication apps.  Know a better app not on this list?  Drop us a line and let us know!

TRENDING: Disney’s Second Screen Live Gamifies the Movies!

We’re going to take a break from talking about game elements that contribute to gamification right now and discuss a new trend in entertainment. Yes, I know I said that this blog was about gamification applied to education, but it’s a complex world where most everything is related.

Ever hear about the restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National Park? I rest my case about the fact that everything is connected (which I would love to include the article link, but as I’m writing this there is a government shutdown affecting the websites- link was placed in after government continued functioning fully).

American Idol & The Voice Give Opportunities for Engagement

microphone

By Lestat (Jan Mehlich) [CC-BY-SA-2.5]

American Idol and The Voice are singing competitions where audience members can vote on their favorite performances. American Idol allows audience members to vote during a two-hour window by calling, texting or submitting their votes online. The Voice allows audience members to vote through iTunes song downloads.

Both shows encourage live tweeting with performers and judges. These two shows really set the stage for audience members interacting with each other and their entertainment shows.

Disney’s Second Screen Live- Gamifying the Movies

Disney re-released “The Little Mermaid” in theaters with the following twist: bring your iPad downloaded with Second Screen Live App to interact with the movie while you are watching it. In fact when you enter the theater, you are split up into different teams named from the different characters to add a sense of competition to the mix. In addition to tapping out bubbles and fireworks, audience members solve trivia questions to rack up points.

Disney has applied game elements such as points and competition to watching a movie. Would you pay movie theater prices to watch a movie you’ve already watched? Most likely not, unless you have special connection or you watched it when you were a kid and now you have kids of your own. Disney’s betting on that too.

McDonald’s Monopoly Game Uses Gamification

In a previous post, we shared a monster of a list noting examples of gamification to include: McDonald’s Monopoly Game. “McNopoly,” as I’m coining it, encourages you to buy something that you might not normally buy in quantity, in the hopes you “win” something. Everyone likes to be a winner. It’s like like the phrase, “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.” Someone wins at McNopoly, somewhere. However, lots of little prizes: free fries! Bet you buy a Coke to wash those fries down.

Gamifying the Movies- So What Does It All Mean

Most of us multitask, some even while using the toilet. I know, TMI. Do we really need to add another layer of stimulation in our movie theater going experience? However, the entertainment industry wants to capture ALL of your attention.

So what does this means if it was applied to education? How can we increase interaction and engagement by using some of the same elements that Disney has used? Perhaps live tweeting during classes using a specific hashtag (#FSULIS5385)? Hogwarts house style points system for answering questions correctly or doing the right & good things?

What would you do to increase engagement in learning? Would you see “The Little Mermaid” Second Screen Live if it came to a theater near you? Drop us a comment or two about what you think? Until next time, go get your game on! Don’t forget to drop by our Facebook page for additional #gamification content: http://www.facebook.com/tech2games .

Top 3 “Fun” Fitness Apps to Keep You Fit for the Zombie Invasion

Congratulations, by clicking on this post you’ve burned approximately 1.42 calories!  Not many love exercising- it is what it is.  Most of us don’t have super active jobs anymore so we need to exercise in order to maintain our health and fitness, or improve it.  I won’t harp on the exponentially rising obesity rates in the United States, because we ain’t got time for that. Games are a great way to motivate us to get on the exercise ball!  The combination of video games and exercise, termed as “exergaming” has steadily been on the rise since Nintendo Wii’s inception. Let’s move on, or just start moving!

3. Nexercise

Here’s a basic gamified approach to exercise that awards badges, points and also uses leader boards (BPL).  You can also win rewards: swag, ie free stuff and discounts to merchandise/services.  Share your results easily with friends to add to the  competition game element.  What’s so great about this app?  If you are competitive and a high achiever, this app will get your started on your fitness journey.  However, there is no storyline in Nexercise and no direct engagement while you are exercising.  This app is more akin to a activity monitor with perks!

2. Fit Freeway

Screenshot of Fit Freeway app during play

Lose weight and get fit playing video games. Really! The key is finding exercise you enjoy – that’s Fit Freeway.

This app will get you racing to use the elliptical or stationary bike!  Fit Freeway is an old-style arcade car racing game.  Available for iOS devices, it uses the iPhone/iPad accelerometer to track your activity while you use the front facing camera to steer your speeding car.  Seeing as you need to hold the phone in front of your face for this app to work properly, you’re going to lose some intensity while running/jogging.  However, the faster or more intense your activity- the faster your car goes!

What’s great about this app?  This is fun and sometimes that is all you need.  The fun factor provides a distraction from gym boredom of staring at the wall or the TV.  However, a review stated the vibration detection to determine the car’s acceleration wasn’t spot on.  Fit Freeway might be left in the dust compared to the next top “fun” fitness app listed below.

1. Zombie Run

Zombie Run 2 logo

Get Fit. Escape Zombies. Become a Hero.

Download either Zombie Run ($3.99) available for iOS or Android.  Zombies are big now, much like most of our waistlines. The premise is you are not undead, but the undead are chasing after you.  While you run, you pick up ammunition and medical supplies that you need for your home base.  You create your own music playlist and in between song tracks voice recordings or radio announcements are made updating you to your storyline.  After your run/jog, you use supplies to build up your home base.

What’s great about this app?  Run or die. The future of humans is depending on you; it’s a race for survival.  It’s a severe thought, but a motivating one if you role play in this situation.  In addition, this game has a creation component that allows you to create a virtual living environment as you are responsible of the success and viability of the home base/township.  Psychologically speaking, this type of activity gives an user a sense of control and accomplishment.  This game has 33 free missions (more if you pay for them) to allow you to level up as you play. In addition, this app easily allows you to share your workout logs with others via social media, like Facebook and Twitter.  Stay alive and go get your game on!